Patients with Mental Health Concerns
Adults, Young Adults and Adolescent Patients with mental health concerns might display:
- Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability) or suicidal thoughts
- Feelings of extreme highs and lows
- Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
- Social withdrawal
- Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Strong displays of anger
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
- Numerous unexplained physical ailments
- Substance abuse
Key Recommendations for Communicating with Patients with Mental Health Disability
Make sure you have the patient’s attention by addressing the patient by name, making an eye contact and/or using touch
Don’t rush. Allow time for patient to listen and process what you say
Leverage the support person or guardian for behavior management, communication, and patient preferences
If the patient doesn’t understand:
- Use simpler or different words
- Use pictures
If you don’t understand:
- Don’t pretend to understand
- Ask the patient to say it again
- Ask the patient to show instead
- Ask to involve family member/support worker if appropriate
Eliminate distractions and minimize background noises, if possible, by rooming the patient early
Avoid sensory overload by providing information gradually and clearly
Treat adults as adults. Do not patronize, condescend, or threaten when communicating with the person
Do not make decisions for the person or assume that you know the person's preferences
Additional Accommodations for Patients with Mental Health Disability
Exceptions to the COVID-19 Visitor Policy
Please see Michigan Medicine’s Visitor Guidelines During COVID-19, including the Guidelines for Supporting Adult Patients with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PDF). Questions regarding policy modifications should be referred to Patient Relations and Clinical Risk at 734-936-4330.
To learn more about Michigan Medicine’s policy on service animals, please watch this video. It has been designed to provide real life examples on how to handle patients with service animals and describes the rights of patients with service animals. You may also download a FAQ sheet to share with colleagues.
Also known as a psychiatric advance directive (PAD), the advance directives for mental health care legally documents the patient’s preferences for future mental health treatment and allows for the appointment of a proxy to interpret those preferences during a mental health crisis.
- Ten Commonly Asked Questions
- Michigan Advance Directive for Mental Health Care Form
- Other Michigan Mental Health Resources
Resources for Community Living
The PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness) provides funds for services to persons with mental illness, including those with substance use disorders who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.
The Shelter Plus Care Program (S+C) links rental assistance for homeless individuals with disabilities and their families.